Thursday, November 15, 2012

Wells Coming Off Confidential List; Three Outstanding IPs; Fourth (BEXP) Will Be Also

RBN Energy: pricing natural gas this winter

Wells coming off confidential list, Friday:
  • 20058, 2,020, Whiting, Bartelson 44-31H, Sanish, Mountrail, t5/12; cum 45K 9/12;
  • 20919, 1,547, Petro-Hunt,  Fort Berthold 148-05-25B-36-H, Eagle Nest, Dunn, t10/12; cum --
  • 21454, 2,846, BR, Concord 44-10MBH, Little Knife, Dunn, t9/12; cum 5K 9/12;
  • 22713, drl, BEXP, Alger State 16-21 4TFH, Alger, Mountrail,

A Recession Certainly Won't Help EV Sales; Another DOE Battery Plant in Trouble?


Later, 8:48 pm: the linked article below has two interesting data points at the very end of the article:
  • Some Arizona owners recently have raised concerns about the Leaf's diminished range in hot weather. [Ah, yes, batteries and hot weather -- something I am very familiar with in south Texas.]
  • Nissan received $1.4 billion in Energy Department loans to build a battery plant and upgrade a factory building the Leaf in Smyrna, Tenn. The company had invited reporters to attend a grand opening of the battery plant on Friday but abruptly canceled the ceremony.
Original Post 

For a quick review of electric vehicle sales over the past few years, click here. Something tells me the "fiscal cliff" uncertainty won't help EV sales. Nissan, apparently, is thinking the same way:
Nissan Motor CEO Carlos Ghosn finally admitted the automaker will not meet its sales target for its all-electric Leaf — in another sign of the broad struggle of the electric vehicle industry.
"The forecast we have given ourselves for the year will not be reached," Ghosn told Bloomberg Television ...
Despite months of lagging sales,
For the year, Nissan has sold 6,791 Leafs, down 15.6 percent from this time a year ago.
Nissan sold 9,679 all-electric Leafs in 2011. In April, Nissan said an executive misspoke when he said the company was not likely to double sales of its all-electric Leaf in 2012.
Ghosn has previously predicted that 10 percent of all vehicles sold by 2020 worldwide will be electric vehicles.
And, of course, next summer's recession won't help sales either. Gasoline should be pretty cheap next summer. 

Thirteen (13) New Permits and Some Miscellaneous Links, Trivia

Bakken Operations

Active rigs: 186 (steady, slight decrease)

Thirteen (13) new permits --
  • Operators: CLR (6), Marathon (3), Petro-Hunt (2), Whiting, Hess
  • Fields: Wolf Bay (Dunn), Park (Billings), Stoneview (Divide), Corinth (Williams), Juniper (McKenzie), Union Center (McKenzie)
  • Comments:  Another day with no OXY USA or Newfield permit; more Petro-Hunt permits
Wells coming off confidential list were reported earlier; see sidebar at the right.

KOG changed the name of several of their wells; in most cases, minor changes. In two cases "Polar" wells were renames P Thomas wells.

Other links:; the Williston housing boom

Even after Sandy, it looks like the economy is going to trump the environment.
Jack Gerard, API's president and CEO, went on to call climate change a "secondary issue" to the economy and jobs for the American public, a sentiment that was echoed by President Obama during a White House press conference on Wednesday. [Oh, really?]
Small increases, but dividend increases just the same:
  • Williams Cos increases quarterly dividend 4% to $0.325 from $0.3125 per share (WMB) 
  • MDU Resources increases quarterly dividend 3% to $0.1725 from $0.1675 per share (MDU)
  • Union Pacific increases quarterly dividend 15% to $0.69 from $0.60 per share (UPR)
  • Natl Oilwell Varco increased its quarterly dividend to $0.13/share from $0.12/share (NOV)
Wow, this is very cool -- nothing to do with the Bakken: the Chinese are looking at entering the north Atlantic -- Lajes, the Azores. In another life, I spent a fair amount of time at Lajes Field. It's an incredible island, an incredible runway, and incredible location. Even when I was there 20 years ago or so, it was considered a "back-water base" by the USAF despite its strategic location. It appears the USAF is planning to make this a "ghost base." If the US does this, there's no question Portugal would look for a partner with deeper pockets, e.g., China. This will be fascinating to watch. The Portuguese deserve better than a "ghost base."

Production Runs For Wells Still on the Confidential List

At this stand-alone post, someone sent in a comment asking how one finds production data for wells still on confidential list. If a well on the confidential list has produced oil and sold it, one can find that data at the NDIC web site. I posted how to find that data at the comment at that linked stand-alone post.

Denny's: Only The Latest To Fall In Line With Federally Mandated 29-Hour Work Week; Will Add 5% ObamaCare Surcharge


February 4, 2014: CBO (Congressional Budget Office) triples the number of workers expected to be locked out of full-time jobs due to ObamaCare. For investors: not a concern. Companies will save money, hiring fewer folks and cost-shifting health care to their workers. This is actually pretty good news for businesses and investors.

June 2, 2013: Wake County, North Carolina, considering limits on hours for substitute school teachers, so they don't exceed 30 hours; qualify for ObamaCare.

May 3, 2013: Mainstream media starts to see the impact of ObamaCare on part-time workers.

February 23, 2013: ObamaCare and the '29ers -- WSJ.

December 2, 2012: Dairy Queen franchise owner with 90 employees watching ObamaCare very closely; options -- fewer permanent employers; fewer hours for employers.
Like many franchisees, Robert U. Mayfield, who owns five Dairy Queens in and around Austin, Tex., is always eager to expand and — no surprise — has had his eyes on opening a sixth DQ. But he said concerns about [ObamaCare] had persuaded him to hold off.
"I'm scared to death of it," he said. "I'm one of the ones sitting on the sidelines to see what's really going to happen."
Mr. Mayfield, who has 99 employees, said he was worried he would face penalties of $40,000 or more because he did not offer health insurance to many of his full-time workers — generally defined as those working an average of 30 hours a week or more. Ever since the law was enacted in 2010, opponents have argued that employers who were forced to offer health insurance would lay off workers or shift more people to part-time status to compensate for the additional cost. Those claims have drawn considerable attention — and considerable anger in response — in recent weeks.
November 16, 2012: it turns out that "Denny's" is not taking this action; the headline in the was very, very misleading. The decision to charge a 5% surcharge for ObamaCare as reported by the was that of an independent franchise operator who happens to own several Denny's restaurants, but is not the CEO of Denny's or on the board. This is Denny's response to that independent operator's plans for a surcharge.

November 16, 2012: I don't follow Denny's so I can't comment on what is powering Denny's share price; see first comment. But Denny's is obviously doing something right, powering through the recession. I know Denny's has treated veterans very, very well; I have enjoyed free meals at Denny's on Veterans Day in San Antonio. The waitstaff always got great tips on those days. So, perhaps I am wrong. Perhaps the CEO's plan to include a 5% surcharge will last longer than a "New York minute." It would be sad if it came at the expense of tips, but who knows, it may be a great marketing move. I know Starbucks does well by charging more to ensure their employees are better compensated. Time will tell. Not following Denny's I do not know how it has powered through the recession so well. Denny's has had huge expansion overseas. Putting things into perspective, during the past five years, DENN has had a 20% return compared with McDonald's 60% (until the recent pullback following the election and the uncertainty with the "fiscal cliff"). It just shows how deep the recession was.

Original Post

Link here to the Daily (which begs the question: why are the Brits so much better at reporting US news in such an entertaining manner?; the pictures are outstanding; the writing, well, fun).
Several other restaurants including Papa John's, Apple Metro and Jimmy John's have announced plans to skirt Obamacare by reducing employees hours to make them part-time.
Indeed, Metz is adding the surcharge because he believes that eventually firms will be fined for not covering staff who complete over 30-hours in a week.
In November, a poll for Kaiser Health Tracking found that 43 percent of the United States had a favourable opinion of ObamaCare, while 39-percent had an unfavourable one. [It will be interesting to follow the results of this poll over time.]
'Instead of indirectly charging customers by raising prices, he is directly charging and making a political statement,' said Paul Fronstin, director of the health research program at the Employee Benefit Research Institute in Washington. 
Yes, I would say that is true, that he is making a political statement. My hunch: the 5% surcharge will last a "New York minute" when customers start voting with their feet. It's also possible the 5% surcharge will replace the 15% tip.

It is generally agreed that the federally-mandated 29-hour work week will force most service employees to work two jobs. One solution: coops among restaurants. Employees would get their 29 weeks x 2 and restaurants would not be saddled with an additional $5,000/employee for health care premiums. A win-win for all.

Thursday Morning Links

Wells coming off the confidential list have been posted; scroll down.

RBN Energy: more on the natural gas network in the northeast. An incredible story and a great "factbox" source.

Winter forecast fueling a gas rally: prices have almost doubled and the best is yet to come -- WSJ, page C4. Information-challenged naysayers elsewhere suggest that natural gas fields are declining faster than expected; these information-challenged naysayers are unaware of the number of natural gas rigs stacked this past year.

Starbucks buying tea in largest acquisition ever.

Stage set for next act in fiscal drama. I do not understand or know the details of the "Grand Compromise" that will eventually be passed but I cannot get a bit upset about the president's proposal as summarized at the link: let Bush tax cuts expire for top 2% of taxpayers; and limit value of deductions and exclusions to 28%. The only caveat: somehow there needs to be a safety net/exclusion for "small business" and that would be easy to do. The alternative proposals are about the same, just simple tweaking. In fact, when you look at the president's proposals and the alternate proposals, it appears to be all about "saving face" and/or which side can claim victory. The only reason for the fighting between the two proposals (since they hardly seem to be all that different, as far as I can tell), is to provide time for the top 2% to liquidate non-performing assets, move performing assets off-shore, and study how Apple was able to pay 1.9% in corporate taxes. The Bush tax cuts are a McGuffin; the real challenge for the (un)employed in 2013 will be the US-mandated 29-hour workweek.

In the president's proposal there is a request to end "oil, gas, and coal industry subsidies" which will raise $30 billion over ten years. $3 billion/year.  Nothing is said about end subsidies for renewable energy, but I guess wind (and solar?) subsidies will end this year anyway (which I doubt, by the way; they will be reinstated sometime in 2013 and made retroactive, following the discussions on global warming that the President says he will entertain in the "near" future).

By the way, a lot of those currently in the top 2% will not see higher taxes. Due to the recession, they will come under the $250,000/year cap or whatever the cap ends up being. In addition, many of these folks will be laid off, anyway. 

Note for the Granddaughters -- Nothing About the Bakken

Starting to feel a bit like autumn. The older granddaughter wanted to go down to the local park and identify the trees. We both share the same climbing tree; it is a perfect tree for climbing. It almost looks like the trunk was buried in accumulated leaves over the years, because the branching begins literally at ground level. It is THE easiest tree to climb. During the summer we can spend hours in the tree, and no one notices us as we look down on them. Even during the winter, with most of the foliage gone, most folks do not notice us until dogs start barking "at the tree."

So, we climb the tree, find a place to lay back and then read. I'm reading The Whale by Philip Hoare.

The older granddaughter took a tree identification book with her.

Our favorite tree is a beech. She is wearing a helmet because we rode our bikes.

Then, off to identify the trees. Then a most interesting phenomenon (see picture below). This was not atypical in the park: a conifer growing practically out of the trunk of a black oak. She noticed it first. She was trying to decide what kind of conifer it was. She settled on juniper, not a Douglas fir, based on the leaves/needles.

One can see the conifer, a juniper (?) practically arising from the same trunk system as the black oak. Arianna was inspecting quarter-inch black beetles hibernating in the grooves of the bark. I don't know "my" bark beetles, but these certainly suggest bark beetles. Smile.

Jobless Numbers Soar, Eurozone Back in Recession


Later, 10:54 am: Aha! It wasn't Sandy after all! The worst-hit states: Ohio and Pennsylvania, the swing states! In fact, there was a decline in jobless claims in one of the two states hardest hit by Sandy: New York (I cannot make this stuff up):
Some of the new claims, especially in New Jersey, were due to Hurricane Sandy--but these were offset by a decline in claims filed in New York. The highest numbers of new filings came from Pennsylvania and Ohio, where there were thousands of layoffs in the construction, manufacturing, and automobile industries. 
Both states had been targeted by the presidential campaigns. President Obama highlighted his record of job creation in Ohio in particular, focusing on the automobile industry. The state reported 6,450 new jobless claims in the week after the election--second-highest after Pennsylvania, which recorded 7,766 new claims.
But at least the folks in Ohio and Pennsylvania are content/satisfied; they voted overwhelmingly to re-elect the empty chair President. 

Original Post
No link regarding the Eurozone recession; it was a foregone conclusion, predictable; one can find stories everywhere but it's not worth a headline. Dog bites man story.

Remember: the magic number is 400,000

I had not planned to blog any more the weekly jobless rates; the numbers no longer mean anything to me; they are irrelevant. Americans are content/satisfied; the President won in a landslide (yes, it was a landslide by current definition of landslides in American politics; no lawyers were needed to count chads which says it all, but I digress). But when I see a headline that says the jobless number soars, it's impossible not to post it for archival purposes. So, here it is. Blame it on Sandy. Don't blame it on the President. There will be plenty of time for that next summer.
Super storm Sandy drove U.S. weekly jobless claims up to 439,000, while consumer prices rose slightly last month as higher rents and costlier food offset cheaper gasoline.
So, the magic number is 400,000. What were the numbers last week? 439,000. Due to Sandy. The highest level in 18 months

Boiler plate: the four-week average of applications, a less volatile number, increased to 383,750.

And then a bit of accurate reporting, without spin, now that the election is over:
Before the storm distorted the figures, weekly applications had fluctuated between 360,000 and 390,000 since January. At the same time, employers have added an average of nearly 157,000 jobs a month. That's barely enough to lower the unemployment rate, which was 7.9 percent in October
And then next week, or will be it the next week? I don't have a calendar in front me: the jobless claims will soar again, taking analysts by surprise. They will blame it on Thanksgiving. 

Any bets on the unemployment figure next summer. My hunch: the 29-hour work week will be rescinded. Even that's a bridge too far. The only reason the 29-hour work week is talked about now is because no one read the ObamaCare plan before they voted for it. The Scott Brown legacy.